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Comparison of cervical musculoskeletal kinematics in two different postures of primate during voluntary head tracking


We have examined the effect on neck-muscle activation of altering whole body posture. A Rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatto) was trained to produce sinusoidal (0.25 Hz) head tracking movements in the sagittal plane when seated with trunk and head vertical or while standing in the quadrupedal position. Video-fluoroscopic images of cervical vertebral motion, and electromyographic (EMG) responses were recorded simultaneously. Results demonstrated that vertebral motion varied with body posture, occurring synchronously between all joints in the upright position and primarily at skull-Ci when in the quadrupedal position. Muscle EMG activation was significantly greater (p<0.00l) in the quadrupedal position than when upright for all muscles except semispinalis cervicis. Peak activation of all the muscles occurred prior to peak head extension in the quadrupedal position, suggesting synchronous activity between muscles. Data suggest that, when upright, muscles were activated in functional groupings defined by their anatomical arrangement. In the quadrupedal position, gravity acting on the horizontally oriented head produced greater activation and a collective response of the muscles.

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C1 :

The 1st cervical vertebra

C2 :

The 2nd cervical vertebra

C3 :

The 3rd cervical vertebra

C4 :

The 4th cervical vertebra

C5 :

The 5th cervical vertebra

C6 :

The 6th cervical vertebra

C7 :

The 7th cervical vertebra

T1 :

The 1st thoracic vertebra


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Correspondence to Hyeonki Choi or Emily Keshner or Barry W. Peterson.

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Choi, H., Keshner, E. & Peterson, B.W. Comparison of cervical musculoskeletal kinematics in two different postures of primate during voluntary head tracking. KSME International Journal 17, 1140–1147 (2003).

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Key Words

  • Neck Musculature
  • Cervical Kinematics
  • Different Postures
  • Primate
  • EMG
  • Video-fluoroscopy